Home | English | Publications | Witness Testimony | Witness Statement: Amir Atiabi

Witness Statement: Amir Atiabi

68. Jalil and several other prisoners who refused to pray received an additional ten lashes for the evening prayer session. Then Jalil and another prisoner received a second round of ten lashes They were escorted to the same room where Jalil and I were kept the night before. I was put in a larger room with about fifteen to twenty others. I later found out, from the prisoner who shared the room with Jalil, that the next morning when they took him to the bathroom he slashed his stomach open using a glass jar he had found in his room. He did not survive the suicide attempt.

69. They transferred the rest of us, those who had finally agreed to pray, to one of the large wards in the top floor (Ward 2, or perhaps Ward 3). Those of us who sustained repeated lashes were in pain and had swollen feet. They kept us in separate rooms. There were no accommodations. Nothing. When they brought us food, we did not have anything to eat with. We could not wash our hands. Most of us were still in our underwear. Some did not have any sandals on. At some point, the guards came in and escorted all of us to the hall at the end of the ward’s corridor. One of the guards went up to the front and began praying. The guards asked us to follow his lead. Many of us did not know how to pray.

70. During the next several days, I kept waiting for my name to be called. Some of the remaining members were eventually summoned and executed, despite the fact that they had agreed to pray. Others were transferred to solitary cells. On the third day, Naserian and the guards came to our rooms and asked those of us who still believed in our respective parties and political organizations to come forward. I told Naserian that I still believed in the ideals of the Tudeh Party. They took all those who came forward into a room and began beating us with steel cables. There were about ten or fifteen of us there. Ten lashes for each of us. They asked us again if we believed in our parties. This time, no one said anything. This was the beginning of the end of our resistance in prison. After so much killing and torture, after so many shattered lives, we could not continue on any longer. After they took us back to our rooms and closed the door, I burst into tears. I cried nonstop for a long time while my cellmates tried to comfort me. I have never cried like that in my life.

71. They kept transferring us from one ward to another. They also told us to take our belongings and get rid of anything that was not absolutely necessary. Afterwards, they placed all of us in a large ward together. We realized that from the fifty-two people who were originally with us in Ward 20, about twenty-six were no longer with us. We knew they had been executed. Among those executed were individuals who had agreed to pray or were flexible in their attitude towards the regime. There were also those who regularly practiced Islam during their time in prison, such as Keivan Mahshid, a Tudeh Party member who genuinely believed in Islam but refused to allow the authorities to take advantage of his beliefs. Some were military officers who were secretly Tudeh Party members and had participated in the war against Iraq as field commanders. And others were executed because of the answers they provided the Death Committee. They were all executed because of their party history or political activities. I think all of these individuals would have been sent to the gallows regardless of what they told the members of the Death Committee. On the other hand, there were some prisoners who informed the members of the Death Committee that they did not practice Islam, or were communist or brought up in communist households. These inmates were spared, probably because the committee members did not believe they held important positions within their organizations (or would pose a threat to the regime in the future).

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 »